by Gbenga Olorunpomi
However, I congratulate the sophisticated people of Oyo for seeing the light, kicking out the colony of clowns in the PDP and voting ACN’s way the last time they got the chance. Ajumobi was the right choice in 2011.
Nigeria has more than its fair share of unserious politicians. Scratch that; we have more than Africa’s fair share of unserious characters dotting the polity and the former governor of Oyo State,Rashidi Ladoja, is one of the most sterile of the lot. In my eyes, he is only a little less unserious than his former deputy – turned usurper – Alao Akala. Combine those two, and I can already hear the cacophony of laughter in my head, while feeling the tears of regret run down my cheeks.
To really understand the circus that those two turned the great state of Oyo into since 2003, a short stroll down memory lane is necessary. In his quest to demonstrate his strength of incumbency to his party, former President Olusegun Obasanjo deployed every arsenal at his disposal to win as many states as he could in the 2003 general elections for the PDP. A part of his plan was the poisoned chalice he offered the political leaders in the South West, promising to support them if they gave him their votes for presidency. Despite the then governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu’s protestations, warning them of the cunning fox the Old General is, they gave in to his seduction. They didn’t know what hit them. In one fell swoop, they lost all their states to the PDP. Obasanjo, expectedly, did not keep his end of the bargain. Only Lagos was saved from the Tsunami. Out went competent hands, and in came some of the most brainless leaders the South-Western Nigeria had ever been cursed to have.
Ladoja was one of these hacks. He was a special case. He was an lily-liveried nonentity, who agreed to be led by the nose by the Capo Di Tutti Capi of all Ibadan thugs, the Late Lamidi Adedibu. In exchange for votes (dubious and coerced votes), and because the PDP Ogas at the Top said so, Ladoja agreed to everything Adedibu asked of him, almost emptying the entire Oyo treasury into the Old Man’s coffers. Even his deputy was the Adedibu’s stooge. Then there was the drama of a massive fallout between godfather and godson, which culminated into Ladoja being impeached, reinstated, and losing the 2007 party primaries to Alao-Akala, who went on to rule Oyo state with every ounce of thuggery that you can imagine.
Now, over those eight years that Oyo citizens were shock-shelled by the Clown and the Thug, the state suffered unbelievable setbacks in its socio-economy and development. The streets of Ibadan either housed tall piles of putrefying garbage or were lined with the blood of innocent bystanders who lost their lives in gangs wars and robberies. While Lagos led the nation in almost all the positive indices possible, next door Ibadan became the home of hired guns and all forms of nefarious individuals. Oyo almost became the Joke of the Nation, as the most popular product the state was known for was Alao-Akala’s brand of skin bleaching cream.
Enter the present governor of Oyo, Abiola Ajumobi. After a slow start, the man began to piece together what was left of his state. Given all the debts his predecessor owed, one must praise this man for achieving all he has so far. In his two years in office, he has found the fine balance of force and negotiation to restore the peace which had eluded the state in the last five years owing to the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) activities. he has repaired a total of 215 roads across the state including the dualization of entry points to major towns including Ibadan, Oyo, Ogbomosho (Akala’s town) and Iseyin. While his predecessors owed pensioners, Ajumobi paid the arrears of 142 per cent increase to pensioners.
Doesn’t end there. I called a friend to confirm the story that the state pays salaries latest by 25th of every month. Like his Osun counterpart, Ajumobi provided jobs for 20,000 youths under the Youth Empowerment Scheme of Oyo State (YES-O), reduced the tuition fees paid by students in tertiary institutions by 50 per cent and 1,500 blocks of classrooms in primary and secondary schools were renovated. He inaugurated the Joint Security Patrol Squad comprising the military, the police, State Security Service (SSS) and Civil Defence Corps code named “Operation Burst” for the maintenance of law and order.
It would however be unfair to credit the governor only with all these achievements. Knowing he would need the support of the state house of assembly in his drive to accelerate the development of his state, he went into an uneasy arrangement with Ladoja, who had become the main man in the Accord Party, hence getting an absolute majority in the House. However, like the clown he is, Ladoja went on to take advantage, disparaging the governor whenever someone shoved a mic or tape recorder in his face. Seeing that this man was a success where he had failed, he embarked on a campaign to discredit Ajumobi.
After severing the arrangement with Ladoja, the man decided to do what you expect of all political jobbers. He went on to kiss and make up with his estranged deputy, Akala. According to reports, the duo recently even spent some time together in London to solidify their marriage. This coming together is so despicable that some members of the decaying PDP could hardly hold back their puke. Hear Elder Wole Oyelese, an Oyo PDP leader : “I think Ladoja and Alao-Akala are getting it wrong on the so-called alliance…. I read in the papers that they came together for the sole purpose of preventing Ajimobi from winning the election for a second term in office. For now, it is possible to say that Ajimobi has performed in his first two years. But I believe he owes this perception largely to the inability of Ladoja and Alao-Akala to do some of the basic things he has done when they were in the same position.”
These words are an indictment on the PDP that held sway for eight years and oversaw the degradation of the electorate. They are an indictment on the two men that allowed their reigns become the jokes they themselves are. They are an indictment on Former President Obasanjo for imposing the most horrendous set of individuals on the South West, no matter how noble his intentions.
However, I congratulate the sophisticated people of Oyo for seeing the light, kicking out the colony of clowns in the PDP and voting ACN’s way the last time they got the chance. Ajimobi was the right choice in 2011. If the conditions are right, and he continues to deliver on his electoral promises, I hope they choose illumination over darkness once again. Hopefully not the kind that bleaching creams give, though.
Gbenga Olorunpomi is a senior digital marketing strategist. He has over 5 years in the marketing communications business and has designed social media strategies for major brands like Coca-Cola and The Economist. He is experienced in the media, having worked for two years at one of the country’s biggest public relations firms as Media Relations and Content Manager. Gbenga is a Principal Consultant with Cyborg Nigeria. He is affiliated to the ACN. He tweets from @gbengagold
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